The new head of the United States Postal Service (USPS) has established some major operational changes in a Monday memo, including slowed mail delivery in an effort to cut costs.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major donor to President Donald Trump, took over the mail service last month and has since enacted “difficult” changes to help the USPS financial situation.
Changes include mail delivery being delayed by one day or more to reduce costs.
Late trips will also no longer be authorised, according to a document obtained by the Associated Press. If a postal distribution centre is running late, ”they will keep the mail for the next day”.
Previously mail carriers were trained to never leave behind mail and to make multiple trips if necessary.
Besides increasing mail delays, this change would eliminate overtime opportunities for hundreds of thousands of postal workers across the US.
The memo, titled the “New PMG’s [Postmaster General’s] expectations and plan,” according to The Washington Post, said changes are happening because mail deliveries declined in the last decade due to competitors like UPS, FedEx, and other rivals. Declining mail deliveries created deep revenue losses.
The coronavirus pandemic further exacerbated the situation, and the memo stated the service had to make an “operational pivot” in order to maintain health and stability for the coming years.
In the memo released Monday, the US Steel company was cited to prove that USPS was not “untouchable” despite its decades-long service in the country. In 1975, the US Steel was “the largest company in the world,” the memo stated. “They are gone.” US Steel actually still remains the leading producer of steel in the country, despite what the memo alluded.
Experts have warned these changes could push customers away from using the service, further exacerbating revenue losses. The company was also considering increasing packaging prices to boost revenue, but this move could encourage competitors to lower their prices.
Reports of the agency allowing delayed services has come amid debates about mail-in voting for the November election.
Democrats have called for mail-in voting to be an option across the US, a proposition Mr Trump strictly opposes over accusations it would increase voter fraud. No research or studies have shown voter fraud increases when using mail-in ballots.
Democratic Representative Bill Pascrell of New Jersey was one vocal opponent against the new agency changes.
“Trump and his cronies are openly seeking to destroy the post office during the worst public health crisis in a century,’’ Mr Pascrell said
He added it was a “a direct attack on American democracy itself” to impact the delivery service prior to the election, while also potentially impacting 600,000 jobs for employees during the pandemic.